Netherlands flag Netherlands: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of the Netherlands

Foreign Trade in Figures

Dutch prosperity has always been based on its international trade, and the geographic location of the country makes it a European trade hub, with Rotterdam being the largest European port. With high-tech industries and services, foreign trade is one of the main pillars of the Dutch economy, representing an impressive 145.3% of GDP (World Bank – latest data available), one of the most open and outward-oriented economies in the world. The country mainly exports petroleum oils other than crude, processed foodstuff (plants, flowers, dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables), line telephony electrical apparatus and medicaments. Exports of mineral fuels were hit hardest in 2020, falling by more than 34.4% compared to the previous year. Most of the sales are re-exportations as the country plays the role of a European trade hub. Imports are led by line telephony electrical apparatus, petroleum oils, automatic data-processing machines, electronic integrated circuits, and vehicles. Independent SMEs accounted for 19.6% of the total value of goods exports, while large enterprises accounted for more than 51.7%.

El superávit económico de los Países Bajos se debe casi por completo a su comercio con los países de la Unión Europea. Los principales socios comerciales del país son Alemania (22,1%), Bélgica (10,2%), Francia (7,7%) y el Reino Unido (7,2%), mientras que las importaciones proceden principalmente de Alemania (17,7%), China (10,6%), Bélgica (9,8%) y Estados Unidos (8,1% - OMC).

The country has a structurally positive trade balance for goods and services, which stood at around 10.4% of GDP for 2020 according to the World Bank. In the same year, the country’s exports of goods were worth USD 674.8 billion (a decrease of 4.7% year-on-year), with imports slowing at a faster pace (USD 596 billion; -6.2%); whereas for commercial services exports stood at USD 186 billion (down by almost one-third y-o-y), and imports at USD 169 billion (-36.2% - data by WTO). The latest data from the National Statistical Office shows that Dutch goods trade was above the pre-pandemic level in the first half of 2021: in the first six months of 2021, goods exports were up by EUR 42 billion relative to one year previously (+6%), as imports increased by EUR 35 billion (8%).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 503,414574,646645,502635,678596,012
Exports of Goods (million USD) 569,705652,065726,697708,596674,870
Imports of Services (million USD) 169,458206,137259,180265,264169,030
Exports of Services (million USD) 179,776215,814258,207273,815185,980

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 148.9156.0158.8155.3145.3
Trade Balance (million USD) 72,64581,22684,60176,35879,749
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 79,95789,57896,35994,59097,120
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -2.06.24.73.2-5.5
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.76.54.32.0-4.8
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 69.372.674.172.767.4
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 79.583.484.782.577.9

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 5.14.34.03.63.4
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 4.64.44.34.03.8

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
The Netherlands is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Union, ICC, WTO, G-10, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the Netherlands click here. International organisation membership of the Netherlands is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by the Netherlands can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
Germany 22.1%
Belgium 10.2%
France 7.7%
United Kingdom 7.2%
United States 5.0%
See More Countries 47.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
Germany 17.7%
China 10.6%
Belgium 9.8%
United States 8.1%
United Kingdom 4.7%
See More Countries 49.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

551.4 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 6.3%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 3.6%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.5%
Machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or...Machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or principally for the manufacture of semiconductor boules or wafers, semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits or flat panel displays; machines and apparatus specified in note 9 C to chapter 84; parts and accessories, n.e.s. 2.7%
Instruments and appliances used in medical,...Instruments and appliances used in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, incl. scintigraphic apparatus, other electro-medical apparatus and sight-testing instruments, n.e.s. 2.4%
See More Products 81.5%
484.1 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 4.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 4.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.7%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 3.4%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 2.8%
See More Products 80.9%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

215.1 bn USD of services exported in 2020
30.99%
20.21%
19.45%
14.13%
4.66%
4.28%
2.51%
1.28%
0.91%
0.82%
0.76%
199.3 bn USD of services imported in 2020
38.35%
19.23%
17.76%
9.95%
5.30%
4.10%
2.34%
1.33%
1.15%
0.40%
0.09%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: September 2022

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